COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents are surging and hospitals are overwhelmed with new coronavirus cases which is causing staff shortages, particularly in rural hospitals. Believe it or not, Monterey County is considered rural, with much of the South County spread out and this is where the majority of COVID-19 cases are occurring. We have had nursing home outbreaks in Carmel, Monterey, Salinas and Watsonville. “Nursing homes are not isolated from what happens in the community,” Carrie Henning-Smith, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, told The Wall Street Journal. Facilities in rural counties reported 18% of nursing home COVID-19 deaths in the week ended November 1, although they housed only 10% of the overall population. Please, please, take this season off and call off Thanksgiving with friends and family. Many health officials are extremely concerned that this holiday season is going to cause a new surge in cases.
AARP The Magazine recently published an article about the fact that most seniors don’t get enough Vitamin D. With COVID-19 keeping people indoors more, this is becoming more of a problem. The article said that more than half of Americans might be Vitamin D deficient. If you can’t get outside, try foods like fatty fish (salmon, trout and mackerel) and Portobello mushrooms. Fortified milk is also a good source. If none of this works for you, get some supplements!
There were 74 new cases in Monterey County, a fraction of the whopping 265 new cases reported yesterday, for a total of 13,110. There were six new hospitalizations, and no new deaths reported. Nationwide, cases were up by 150K for a total of 11.2 million while deaths rose by 644 to 246,421. In California, cases rose significantly. They were up by 12,243 to 1.041 million, while deaths rose by 18 to 18,277. Although we won’t get the freezing cold weather that is fueling outbreaks across the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, we must use extreme caution so that this virus does not spread rapidly. Think about taking a year off from celebrating Thanksgiving with your extended family. It could literally save lives.
In the September 20 AARP Bulletin, one member wrote in and said that her parents have become less mobile and more forgetful since isolation began and said, “I know nursing homes are scary places right now. What about assisted living?” You may not have that option, AARP responds. About a third of senior living communities are not taking new residents due to the coronavirus. And even if you could find one, AARP writes that they would hesitate. Many have no trained medical staff, and are regulated loosely. And the very activities that once made them attractive—social activities, communal dining, and field trips—have been suspended. AARP Bulletin recommends in-home help, including guided exercise and physical therapy. They also said to consider ramping up online video visits to keep them interactive with the family.
It’s open enrollment time until December 7, a time of year when seniors can swap out Medicare Advantage plans. However, according to the New York Times, many seniors are overwhelmed by the number of choices and do nothing. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, seniors will be able to choose from 57 different prescription or Advantage plans that include drug coverage. A new survey found that 57% of seniors didn’t review or compare their coverage, with 46% saying they never or rarely visited their plans. Two thirds of beneficiaries 85 or older don’t review their coverage annually.
Senior citizens are complaining to AARP that they are getting calls from Medicare claiming that because of the coronavirus, they were issuing plastic cards now and asking people to verify their Social Security number. These are not representatives of Medicare, these are scammers trying to get your personal information so that they can commit identity theft. Beware!
There were 68 new coronavirus cases reported in Monterey County, with total cases now at 12,769. There was one new death reported today. Nationwide, hospitalizations hit a new high, with more than 68,500. There were a whopping 181,194 new cases and almost 1,400 deaths. In California, there were 7,484 new cases for a total of 1.020 million, with 58 new deaths for a total of 18,218. Health experts expect a big surge after Thanksgiving, when many families likely won’t heed the advice to hunker down.
Rippling River Residents Association President Sharon Miles wrote a letter to residents criticizing the way the complex is being run, a letter which was widely distributed by the Carmel Valley Association. It cites towing unregistered vehicles, eliminating popular activities, doing inspections without proper warning, not keeping the property clean and generally treating residents in a heavy handed way, according to the Carmel Pine Cone’s November 13 issue. Although the residency was once owned by the Monterey County Housing Authority, it is now owned by a local nonprofit, the Monterey County Housing Development Corporation, and managed by the John Stewart Company. Miles said that one resident had to pay $2,000 after his car was impounded. And before the pandemic hit, they were charging a $50 deposit to use the community room, blocking access to the pool table and table tennis, removed donated books, and removed exercise equipment that was donated. Sounds like a mess!
AARP Bulletin had an elder abuse alert for our area. The article profiled a 75-year old man who saw a charge on his credit card that he didn’t recognize for Amazon Prime. He did a google search for Amazon’s phone number and called the number, which turned out to be fake. They asked him to confirm his credit card number, as well as his Social Security number. “Scammers will buy and place fake ads that often elude the filters for the online search engines,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told AARP Bulletin. They also tricked him into buying gift cards. “When people are searching for customer service numbers, they are in a hurry and quickly scan for the first phone number they see,” he said.
There were 95 new coronavirus cases reported in Monterey County, with total cases now at 12,701. There were no new hospitalizations but four new deaths—a record for one day. Nationwide, there were roughly 169K new cases reported, bringing the total up to 10.728 million. That marks ten straight days with more than 100K new cases per day. Deaths were up by 1,1180 for a total of 243,376. In California, we had 10,182 new cases—more than double yesterday’s total, for a cume count of 1.012 milllion cases, with 32 new deaths.